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Black on Black

 Guest Post By: Randi Scott

This is my favourite black mug shot on a black background to highlight the rim lighting to best effect.

Black on Black
Photo By: Randi Scott


What I had in mind for this shot was to try and manipulate the lighting and positioning to create a graphic effect from a photograph.

Theory and principals involved:

If you light a dark field photo like this with a key light only, you can achieve different effects by working what is often referred to as "family of angles". If you shoot with a set up where the diffusion panel is much larger than the black blocker panel then the ratio of sizes will produce rim lighting with a much larger "area of diffusion". If the blocker panel is closer to the size of the diffusion panel you can create an effect similar to strip lighting as opposed to maximum diffusion as you might get with a large soft box. You can also control the "wrap" of the light by moving the subject farther forward from the blocker panel. Using a black mug on a black background also helped me control the perceivable "wrap" of the light around the mug.

What I was trying for was something that would look like a pen drawn graphic that could be a prototype for a logo of sorts. What I achieved was a narrower area of diffusion as I had hoped giving this a more graphic appearance. To finish it off the reflection was done in camera by reflecting the mug from a water ripple.

Black point adjustments and other enhancements were done in Apple Aperture and exported in Border FX.

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